How Long Does a Sexual Harassment Case Take?
It is illegal to harass a job applicant or employee due to their sex. Workplace sexual harassment may include any unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors, such as groping, touching, offensive jokes, graphic pictures, or rape. Actionable harassment can also include offensive remarks about somebody's sex that are not of a sexual nature. At Phillips & Associates, we are experienced New York City sexual harassment lawyers who fight for the rights of sexual harassment victims in the workplace. Following are Frequently Asked Questions related to how long a sexual harassment case takes in New York City.How Long Does a Sexual Harassment Case Take?
There are numerous factors that may affect the length of a sexual harassment lawsuit. The first step is reporting the harassment to your employer. This can be done by yourself or through your employment law attorney. In some cases your claims can be resolved fairly quickly before going to court. At the employment law firm of Phillips & Associates we have settled many cases before filing. Usually a resolution before filing can be resolved within 3-8 months.
However, if your employer does not take your claim seriously, investigate, and take appropriate actions to resolve the situation, we are prepared to litigate your matter though the court system and to trial if necessary. If there are over 15 employees the next step would be to file with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) or file directly in state court. Filing with the EEOC is required if you wish to proceed in Federal court. Federal court is often faster than state court. It can take anywhere from 18 months to three years. State court is a lot busier and can take up to six years to get through trial. With that said, many sexual harassment lawsuits settle before trial. They can settle at any time including trial. An experienced employment lawyer can discuss all our options.
If you file with the EEOC, you only have 300 days from the last date of the harassment to file a charge with the EEOC. It is important to be aware of this time period and file a charge within the appropriate time period if you are interested in pursuing damages in federal court.
If you have filed a timely charge with the EEOC, the EEOC is supposed to look into your complaint. It will conduct its own investigation, interview witnesses, and gather evidence to determine whether it can prove that you were sexually harassed in court. Sometimes it will order the parties to mediation. In other cases, it may file a lawsuit on your behalf. More often, however, it simply issues a right to sue letter. The EEOC may take 180 days to take action on your case and issue the right to sue letter. Sometimes it can take over a year for the EEOC to conclude its investigation. You have the right to ask for the right to sue letter after 180 days have passed.
Once you ask for the right to sue letter, the EEOC's investigation is over, and you can file a lawsuit with the help of an attorney. You only have 90 days within which to file suit after receiving a right to sue letter from the EEOC. If your employer is not covered by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act because it has fewer than 15 employees, you may sue under the New York State Human Rights Law or the New York City Human Rights Law.
A federal sexual harassment lawsuit can take years to go to trial. During this period, your attorney and your employer's attorney may be engaged in discovery, investigation, mediation, direct settlement negotiations, and motion practice. The duration of the trial depends on how complex your case is and how many witnesses there are, among other things. Often, employers try to drag out the matter. It is important to choose an employment law attorney that has experience pushing your case forward, with a reputation for going to trial, since this can bring the employer to the table to negotiate much faster than choosing an attorney who does not have trial experience.
As mentioned, a sexual harassment case can take years to resolve. By the time that the case goes to trial and concludes, you may have a different job, and you may have a different perspective on what happened. It can be important to document what happened at the time that it happened so that you can provide accurate and complete testimony not only about what happened but also about how you felt about the harassment and the damages that you suffered as a result of the harassment.Discuss Your Rights with a New York City Sexual Harassment Lawyer
An experienced trial attorney can make a huge difference to a sexual harassment lawsuit. At Phillips & Associates, we may be able to help explain the timeline if you are wondering how long a sexual harassment case takes in New York City. We fight employment discrimination and harassment in the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Staten Island, Nassau and Suffolk Counties, Westchester County, and New Jersey. Contact us at (212) 248-7431 or through our online form.
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